Last updated
Stamens of a Hippeastrum with white filaments and prominent anthers carrying pollen Amaryllis stamens aka.jpg
Stamens of a Hippeastrum with white filaments and prominent anthers carrying pollen

The stamen (plural stamina or stamens) is the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower. Collectively the stamens form the androecium. [1]


Morphology and terminology

A stamen typically consists of a stalk called the filament and an anther which contains microsporangia . Most commonly anthers are two-lobed and are attached to the filament either at the base or in the middle area of the anther. The sterile tissue between the lobes is called the connective, an extension of the filament containing conducting strands. It can be seen as an extension on the dorsal side of the anther. A pollen grain develops from a microspore in the microsporangium and contains the male gametophyte.

The stamens in a flower are collectively called the androecium. The androecium can consist of as few as one-half stamen (i.e. a single locule) as in Canna species or as many as 3,482 stamens which have been counted in the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea). [2] The androecium in various species of plants forms a great variety of patterns, some of them highly complex. [3] [4] [5] [6] It generally surrounds the gynoecium and is surrounded by the perianth. A few members of the family Triuridaceae, particularly Lacandonia schismatica , are exceptional in that their gynoecia surround their androecia.

Hippeastrum flowers showing stamens above the style (with its terminal stigma) Hippeastrum-1.jpg
Hippeastrum flowers showing stamens above the style (with its terminal stigma)
Closeup of stamens and stigma of Lilium 'Stargazer' Closeup of Lilium 'Stargazer' (the 'Stargazer lily').jpg
Closeup of stamens and stigma of Lilium 'Stargazer'


Variation in morphology

Stamens, with distal anther attached to the filament stalk, in context of floral anatomy Mature flower diagram.svg
Stamens, with distal anther attached to the filament stalk, in context of floral anatomy

Depending on the species of plant, some or all of the stamens in a flower may be attached to the petals or to the floral axis. They also may be free-standing or fused to one another in many different ways, including fusion of some but not all stamens. The filaments may be fused and the anthers free, or the filaments free and the anthers fused. Rather than there being two locules, one locule of a stamen may fail to develop, or alternatively the two locules may merge late in development to give a single locule. [12] Extreme cases of stamen fusion occur in some species of Cyclanthera in the family Cucurbitaceae and in section Cyclanthera of genus Phyllanthus (family Euphorbiaceae) where the stamens form a ring around the gynoecium, with a single locule. [13]

Cross section of a Lilium stamen, with four locules surrounded by the tapetum Antera Lilium.jpg
Cross section of a Lilium stamen, with four locules surrounded by the tapetum

Pollen production

A typical anther contains four microsporangia. The microsporangia form sacs or pockets (locules) in the anther (anther sacs or pollen sacs). The two separate locules on each side of an anther may fuse into a single locule. Each microsporangium is lined with a nutritive tissue layer called the tapetum and initially contains diploid pollen mother cells. These undergo meiosis to form haploid spores. The spores may remain attached to each other in a tetrad or separate after meiosis. Each microspore then divides mitotically to form an immature microgametophyte called a pollen grain.

The pollen is eventually released when the anther forms openings (dehisces). These may consist of longitudinal slits, pores, as in the heath family (Ericaceae), or by valves, as in the barberry family (Berberidaceae). In some plants, notably members of Orchidaceae and Asclepiadoideae, the pollen remains in masses called pollinia, which are adapted to attach to particular pollinating agents such as birds or insects. More commonly, mature pollen grains separate and are dispensed by wind or water, pollinating insects, birds or other pollination vectors.

Pollen of angiosperms must be transported to the stigma, the receptive surface of the carpel , of a compatible flower, for successful pollination to occur. After arriving, the pollen grain (an immature microgametophyte) typically completes its development. It may grow a pollen tube and undergoing mitosis to produce two sperm nuclei.

Sexual reproduction in plants

Stamen with pollinia and its anther cap. Phalaenopsis orchid. Phalaenopsis orchid-Stipe.jpg
Stamen with pollinia and its anther cap. Phalaenopsis orchid.

In the typical flower (that is, in the majority of flowering plant species) each flower has both carpels and stamens. In some species, however, the flowers are unisexual with only carpels or stamens. ( monoecious = both types of flowers found on the same plant; dioecious = the two types of flower found only on different plants). A flower with only stamens is called androecious. A flower with only carpels is called gynoecious.

A flower having only functional stamens and lacking functional carpels is called a staminate flower, or (inaccurately) male. [14] A plant with only functional carpels is called pistillate, or (inaccurately) female. [14]

An abortive or rudimentary stamen is called a staminodium or staminode , such as in Scrophularia nodosa .

The carpels and stamens of orchids are fused into a column. The top part of the column is formed by the anther, which is covered by an anther cap.

Descriptive terms

Scanning electron microscope image of Pentas lanceolata anthers, with pollen grains on surface Penta anther.jpg
Scanning electron microscope image of Pentas lanceolata anthers, with pollen grains on surface
Lily stamens with prominent red anthers and white filaments Lily stamens.jpg
Lily stamens with prominent red anthers and white filaments
Begonia grandis stamens Qiu Hai Tang 20191106164316 07.jpg
Begonia grandis stamens
Sterculia foetida stamens Xiang Pin Po Sterculia foetida 20210409164154 01.jpg
Sterculia foetida stamens
Stamen of a Grevillea robusta Yin Hua Grevillea robusta 20210411152016 14.jpg
Stamen of a Grevillea robusta

Stamens can also be adnate (fused or joined from more than one whorl):

They can have different lengths from each other:

or respective to the rest of the flower (perianth):

They may be arranged in one of two different patterns:

They may be arranged, with respect to the petals:


Where the connective is very small, or imperceptible, the anther lobes are close together, and the connective is referred to as discrete, e.g. Euphorbia pp., Adhatoda zeylanica . Where the connective separates the anther lobes, it is called divaricate, e.g. Tilia , Justicia gendarussa . The connective may also be a long and stalk-like, crosswise on the filament, this is a distractile connective, e.g. Salvia . The connective may also bear appendages, and is called appendiculate, e.g. Nerium odorum and some other species of Apocynaceae. In Nerium, the appendages are united as a staminal corona.


A column formed from the fusion of multiple filaments is known as an androphore. Stamens can be connate (fused or joined in the same whorl) as follows:


Anther shapes are variously described by terms such as linear, rounded, sagittate, sinuous, or reniform.

The anther can be attached to the filament's connective in two ways: [16]

Related Research Articles

Asteraceae Family of flowering plants

The family Asteraceae, alternatively Compositae, consists of over 32,000 known species of flowering plants in over 1,900 genera within the order Asterales. Commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, composite, or sunflower family, Compositae were first described in 1740. The number of species in Asteraceae is rivaled only by the Orchidaceae, and which is the larger family is unclear as the quantity of extant species in each family is unknown.

Petal Part of most types of flower

Petals are modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of flowers. They are often brightly colored or unusually shaped to attract pollinators. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called corolla. Petals are usually accompanied by another set of modified leaves called sepals, that collectively form the calyx and lie just beneath the corolla. The calyx and the corolla together make up the perianth. When the petals and sepals of a flower are difficult to distinguish, they are collectively called tepals. Examples of plants in which the term tepal is appropriate include genera such as Aloe and Tulipa. Conversely, genera such as Rosa and Phaseolus have well-distinguished sepals and petals. When the undifferentiated tepals resemble petals, they are referred to as "petaloid", as in petaloid monocots, orders of monocots with brightly colored tepals. Since they include Liliales, an alternative name is lilioid monocots.

Column (botany)

The column, or technically the gynostemium, is a reproductive structure that can be found in several plant families: Aristolochiaceae, Orchidaceae, and Stylidiaceae.

Plant reproductive morphology Study of the physical form and structure (the morphology) of those parts of plants directly or indirectly concerned with sexual reproduction

Plant reproductive morphology is the study of the physical form and structure of those parts of plants directly or indirectly concerned with sexual reproduction.

Theca Sheath or covering

A theca refers to a sheath or a covering.

Commelinaceae Family of flowering plants

Commelinaceae is a family of flowering plants. In less formal contexts, the group is referred to as the dayflower family or spiderwort family. It is one of five families in the order Commelinales and by far the largest of these with about 731 known species in 41 genera. Well known genera include Commelina (dayflowers) and Tradescantia (spiderworts). The family is diverse in both the Old World tropics and the New World tropics, with some genera present in both. The variation in morphology, especially that of the flower and inflorescence, is considered to be exceptionally high amongst the angiosperms.

Gynoecium The female organs of a flower

Gynoecium is most commonly used as a collective term for the parts of a flower that produce ovules and ultimately develop into the fruit and seeds. The gynoecium is the innermost whorl of a flower; it consists of pistils and is typically surrounded by the pollen-producing reproductive organs, the stamens, collectively called the androecium. The gynoecium is often referred to as the "female" portion of the flower, although rather than directly producing female gametes, the gynoecium produces megaspores, each of which develops into a female gametophyte which then produces egg cells.


Sabiaceae is a family of flowering plants that were placed in the order Proteales according to the APG IV system. It comprises three genera, Meliosma, Ophiocaryon and Sabia, with 66 known species, native to tropical to warm temperate regions of southern Asia and the Americas. The family has also been called Meliosmaceae Endl., 1841, nom. rej.

Calyceraceae Family of flowering plants

Calyceraceae is a plant family in the order Asterales. The natural distribution of the about sixty species belonging to this family is restricted to the southern half of South-America. The species of the family resemble both the family Asteraceae and the Dipsacaceae.

Flower Structure found in some plants; aka: blossom

A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants. The biological function of a flower is to facilitate reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs. Flowers may facilitate outcrossing resulting from cross pollination or allow selfing when self pollination occurs.

Cleomaceae Family of flowering plants

The Cleomaceae are a small family of flowering plants in the order Brassicales, comprising about 300 species in 10 genera, or about 150 species in 17 genera. These genera were previously included in the family Capparaceae, but were raised to a distinct family when DNA evidence suggested the genera included in it are more closely related to the Brassicaceae than they are to the Capparaceae. The APG II system allows for Cleomaceae to be included in Brassicaceae.

This page provides a glossary of plant morphology. Botanists and other biologists who study plant morphology use a number of different terms to classify and identify plant organs and parts that can be observed using no more than a handheld magnifying lens. This page provides help in understanding the numerous other pages describing plants by their various taxa. The accompanying page—Plant morphology—provides an overview of the science of the external form of plants. There is also an alphabetical list: Glossary of botanical terms. In contrast, this page deals with botanical terms in a systematic manner, with some illustrations, and organized by plant anatomy and function in plant physiology.

Tetrachondra is a plant genus and a member of the family Tetrachondraceae. It comprises two species of creeping succulent, perennial, aquatic or semi-aquatic herbaceous plants. Its distribution range is disjunct: one species is endemic to New Zealand while the other one is endemic to southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. These plants bear essential oils.

This glossary of botanical terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to botany and plants in general. Terms of plant morphology are included here as well as at the more specific Glossary of plant morphology and Glossary of leaf morphology. For other related terms, see Glossary of phytopathology and List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names.

Connation Term in botanical morphology

Connation in plants is the developmental fusion of organs of the same type, for example, petals to one another to form a tubular corolla. This is in contrast to adnation, the fusion of dissimilar organs. Such organs are described as connate or adnate, respectively. When like organs that are usually well separated are placed next to each other, but not actually connected, they are described as connivent.

Papilionaceous flower

Papilionaceous flowers are flowers with the characteristic irregular and butterfly-like corolla found in many, though not all, plants of the species-rich Faboideae subfamily of legumes. Tournefort suggested that the term Flores papilionacei originated with Valerius Cordus, who applied it to the flowers of the bean.

Whorl (botany)

In botany, a whorl or verticil is an arrangement of leaves, sepals, petals, stamens, or carpels that radiate from a single point and surround or wrap around the stem or stalk. A leaf whorl consists of at least three elements; a pair of opposite leaves is not called a whorl.

Floral formula Floral formula is a means to represent the structure of a flower using numbers, letters and various symbols, presenting substantial information about the flower in a compact form.

Floral formula is a means to represent the structure of a flower using numbers, letters and various symbols, presenting substantial information about the flower in a compact form. It can represent particular species, or can be generalized to characterize higher taxa, usually giving ranges of organ numbers. Floral formulae are one of the two ways of describing flower structure developed during the 19th century, the other being floral diagrams. The format of floral formulae differs between authors, yet they tend to convey the same information.

<i>Hypericum punctatum</i> Species of flowering plant

Hypericum punctatum, the spotted St. John's wort, is a perennial herb native to North America. The yellow-flowered herb occurs throughout eastern North America into southern Canada. The process of microsporogenesis carried out by this plant is prone to errors in chromosomal segregation. It has a diploid number of 14 or 16. Insects are attracted to the plant's pollen and the hypericin in the plant's leaves is toxic to mammals.

Goniothalamus tavoyensis is a species of plant in the family Annonaceae. It is native to Myanmar and Thailand. Debabarta Chatterjee, who first formally described the species, named it after a town in Myanmar that at the time was called Tavoy, but has since be renamed Dawei.


  1. Beentje, Henk (2010). The Kew Plant Glossary. Richmond, Surrey: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN   978-1-84246-422-9., p. 10
  2. Charles E. Bessey in SCIENCE Vol. 40 (November 6, 1914) p. 680.
  3. Sattler, R. 1973. Organogenesis of Flowers. A Photographic Text-Atlas. University of Toronto Press. ISBN   0-8020-1864-5.
  4. Sattler, R. 1988. A dynamic multidimensional approach to floral morphology. In: Leins, P., Tucker, S. C. and Endress, P. (eds) Aspects of Floral Development. J. Cramer, Berlin, pp. 1-6. ISBN   3-443-50011-0
  5. Greyson, R. I. 1994. The Development of Flowers. Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-506688-X.
  6. Leins, P. and Erbar, C. 2010. Flower and Fruit. Schweizerbart Science Publishers, Stuttgart. ISBN   978-3-510-65261-7.
  7. 1 2 Lewis, C.T. & Short, C. (1879). A Latin dictionary founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  8. 1 2 3 Klein, E. (1971). A comprehensive etymological dictionary of the English language. Dealing with the origin of words and their sense development thus illustration the history of civilization and culture. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science B.V.
  9. Siebenhaar, F.J. (1850). Terminologisches Wörterbuch der medicinischen Wissenschaften. (Zweite Auflage). Leipzig: Arnoldische Buchhandlung.
  10. 1 2 Saalfeld, G.A.E.A. (1884). Tensaurus Italograecus. Ausführliches historisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Griechischen Lehn- und Fremdwörter im Lateinischen. Wien: Druck und Verlag von Carl Gerold's Sohn, Buchhändler der Kaiserl. Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Liddell, H.G. & Scott, R. (1940). A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  12. Goebel, K.E.v. (1969) [1905]. Organography of plants, especially of the Archegoniatae and Spermaphyta. Part 2 Special organography. New York: Hofner publishing company. pages 553–555
  13. Rendle, A.B. (1925). The Classification of Flowering Plants . Cambridge University Press. p.  624. ISBN   9780521060578. cyclanthera.
  14. 1 2 Encyclopædia
  15. William G. D'Arcy, Richard C. Keating (eds.) The Anther: Form, Function, and Phylogeny. Cambridge University Press, 1996 ISBN   9780521480635
  16. Hickey, M.; King, C. (1997). Common Families of Flowering Plants. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   9780521576093.